Before Serena Williams made history as the greatest female tennis player of all time (with a record of a whopping total of 36 major titles), before her equally famous sister Venus launched a chic range of tennis apparel EleVen, and before Ana Ivanovic ever inked a deal with Adidas, there was a roster of iconic stars who crushed the courts—with their style. And even though their power serve might not have been of the same caliber as the Williams sisters, that didn't stop them from swinging a racquet and looking like pros.
Farrah Fawcett showed us how to rock tennis whites in 1976, pitting her pristine polo shirt and racing-stripe shorts against tennis's second favorite-slash-most timeless shade—courtside green—with a perfectly slouchy hoodie and a sweatband. And she wasn't the only fashionably inclined icon to score points (both game- and style-wise).
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From Katharine Hepburn in 1935 to a young Brooke Shields in 1983, take a look at 11 vintage images of iconic stars playing tennis, which not only serves as a timeline of how much its style has evolved, but also as proof that tennis has always been a fashionable sport.
1. Greta Garbo, 1929
The Swedish-born actress may have been posing for a portrait for The Kiss, but she looked like a total pro.
2. Jean Harlow, 1934
The actress made a playful attempt to shield herself from the sun with her wooden racquet (probably not the best for tanlines) in a fuzzy knit top and a cotton poplin bottom.
3. Katharine Hepburn, 1935
The style icon set herself up for what could have possibly been an incredible serve, and she did it with incredible style—a cinched-in white pinafore layered over a darling high-neck top, with white lace-up sneaks.
4. Ginger Rogers, 1935
The multi-hyphenate (she was an American actress, singer, and dancer) gave her tennis look a nautical-inspired spin in dark separates accented with striped trim.
5. Joan Crawford, 1937
Is this badminton or just an extra-long tennis racquet? Either way, Crawford's court style was on-point (albeit impractical). She wore a darling polka-dot top with a preppy sweater vest, a white midi-length skirt, and strappy sandals.
6. Jean Parker, 1940
Parker's game may not have landed her on the "greatest tennis players of all time" list, but at least her style won her some major points. She wore a cropped double-breasted jacket with wide pleated short and lace-up ballet flats (that's currently so on-trend).
7. Ava Gardner, 1948
The actress took a breather, looking picture-perfect in a cropped jacket, high-waist shorts, and darling striped wedges. The finishing touches? A tennis ball in one hand, and a racquet in the other.
8. Lucille Ball, 1970
Clint Eastwood may have yearned to be called into action during the La Costa tennis tournament, but Lucille looked perfectly content sitting courtside, and she did in the most stylish way possible—with round shades, a lightweight summer scarf, a white tee, cropped white pants, white flats, and her pup (who had the best view in the house).
9. Farrah Fawcett, 1976
Fawcett showed us how to rock tennis whites in 1976, pitting her pristine polo shirt and racing-stripe shorts against tennis's second favorite-slash-most timeless shade—courtside green—with a perfectly slouchy hoodie and a sweatband.
10. Brooke Shields, 1983
Then-newcomer Shields was fresh-faced in her tennis uniform during a game in Monte-Carlo, Monaco in a sleeveless red polo, pleated mini skirt, striped tube socks, and white kicks.
11. Nicollette Sheridan, 1990
In a cool action, the blonde beauty was snapped mid-serve wearing a white cap (with her strands pulled back in a braid), a slouchy white tee, and a crisp pleated skirt. We're stealing this look, stat.